"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors." - Thomas Jefferson (appears in the Jefferson Memorial)

OR 5: Hazardous for marriage?

Modest headlines came out last week about a divorce between two prominent Oregon political figures: Kurt and Martha Schrader, married in 1975 and both active politically over the last couple of decades.

We’re noting here an odd (and maybe disquieting) bit of trivia Twittered by Nathan Gonzales: This divorce marks the fifth in a row for the occupant of the Oregon 5th district House seat, while holding that office. But not only that: Every person who has ever held the seat has gotten divorced while holding it.

The first was Republican Denny Smith (1982-90), whose second divorce occurred in 1986. (Smith had held the second district congressional seat when in 1982 reapportionment turned part of it in the new 5th, which he then won.) He was narrowly ousted by Democrat Mike Kopetski, also divorced during his two terms in the House. Republican Jim Bunn, who won the seat in the 1994 Republican wave, was divorced during his one term. That one had political impact when he soon after married his chief of staff, contributing to his loss to Democrat Darlene Hooley in 1996. In the course of her dozen years in the House, she too was divorced. And she was followed by Schrader.

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